Friday, June 09, 2006


Random Thoughts on Biden and Frist.

Two observations have been rattling around in my head, both failing to rise to the level of integrated thoughts about a larger theme. Since it doesn't look like they're going to, I'll flop 'em out there like fresh cod at the supermarket. Four bucks a pound.

1. Joe Biden is running for Secretary of State. I know he is one of the few more-or-less announced candidates for president, but he doesn't have a shot in hell. He's been in the Senate since 1972, for God's sake--far past his sell-by date. Senators are notoriously unelectable, and especially Senators who have served during seven intervening presidencies. He was elected when abortions were illegal! But while running for president, he has done an interesting job positioning himself as the Democratic voice of foreign policy. He has the gravitas of one of the wise old men, and the goodwill of Dems and Republicans. I think he's running in order to increase his visibility among Dems, one of whom he predicts will become prez. Biden as Secretary of State? Nice way to end a career of public service.

2. Bill Frist will not run for President. Another of the more-or-less announced candidates for president, Bill Frist is one of the most unfortunate characters in the entire GOP pantheon. He came to power late, during the ineffectual, corrupt period of GOP rule and added his own inimitable brand of futility to the process. He combines the worst qualities that his Democratic predecessor, Tom Daschle, brought to the table--an inability to exercise control over his caucus and a political compass that led him to use his MD to misdiagnose Terri Schiavo via videotape. His great accomplishment this session has been to pass immigration reform--for which a minority of his own party voted. He has spent his last two years carrying water for a president now regarded by most Americans as toxic. And of course, we can't forget the legal troubles Frist drags like an anchor, reminding everyone of his own tainted ethics.

In short, he's made damn near every mistake he could while Majority Leader.

As humiliated Republicans try to rebound from the horrors of Bush's second term, they will not look to the one politician who most typified their descent. After discussion with national Republicans sometime next Spring, Frist will quietly decide not to run again.

There you go, fresh fish for the fryin'.

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